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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- An active-duty service member received gender-reassignment surgery in a private hospital and paid for by the military's health coverage system on Tuesday, the Pentagon said.    "Military hospitals do not have the surgical expertise to perform this type of surgery; therefore, it was conducted in a private hospital," said Dana White, the Defense Department's chief spokesperson. "Because this service member had already begun a sex-reassignment course of treatment and the treating doctor deemed this surgery medically necessary, a waiver was approved by the director of the Defense Health Agency."Pentagon officials said a waiver is required any time a service member receives a procedure at a civilian hospital instead of a military hospital. Citing the Privacy Act, officials could not confirm if this was the first transgender service member to receive gender reassignment surgery.The White House guidance issued in the wake of President Trump's surprise announcement via Twitter that he would reinstate the policy preventing transgender troops from serving openly and ordered the halt of federal funds to pay for sexual reassignment surgeries and medications.However, exceptions were made for service members who had already begun "sex-reassignment course of treatment"; those treatments would be covered under the Department of Defense's health care program.The Pentagon was given until March 2018 to determine what to do about transgender service members who had stepped forward after the Obama administration lifted the ban on transgender service in July 2016.Last month, a federal court judge largely blocked Trump's ban, but not the portion of the presidential memo directing that government funds may not be used for sex reassignment procedures.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Maui Police Department(SAN JOSE, Calif.) --  An "extremely dangerous" psychiatric patient and alleged killer who escaped in Hawaii has been captured in California, the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.Randall Saito, who was committed to the Hawaii State Hospital on Oahu in 1981 after being acquitted of first-degree murder by reason of insanity, left the hospital outside Honolulu Sunday morning and never returned, according to the Honolulu Police Department.Police have determined that, shortly after escaping, Saito took a taxi from Kaneohe to Honolulu, where he chartered a plane to Maui. He boarded another plane from there, police said.Saito arrived in San Jose, California, on Sunday night, police said.ABC station KGO-TV in San Francisco reported Wednesday that the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office has arrested Saito and he's headed to a jail in Stockton.  Saito was considered "extremely dangerous and should not be approached,” the Honolulu Police Department warned.Security officers at San Jose International Airport, as well as the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, reviewed surveillance footage from the airport, airport spokesman Jon Vaden told ABC News.The Hawaii State Department of Health, which runs the Hawaii State Hospital, said earlier it was "cooperating with law enforcement officials to provide them with the information they need in order to conduct their search for the missing patient."“The incident is under investigation and details about a patient’s status are restricted by state and federal privacy laws specific to individuals receiving mental health and substance abuse treatment,” the department said earlier in a statement. “The Hawaii Department of Health recognizes the public's need and right to know more information, but we ask for their patience as this is an ongoing criminal investigation."The Hawaii State Hospital is a 202-bed facility and is the only state psychiatric hospital to provide inpatient psychiatric services for court-ordered individuals within a safe and therapeutic environment," the department added.
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  • ABC News(SAN FRANCISCO) -- One of the strongest storms so far this season is moving onto the West Coast on Wednesday morning, bringing heavy rain to Washington and Oregon.Six western states are currently under flood, snow, wind or fire alerts due to the storm.The biggest threat with this storm will be flash flooding, debris flow and rock slides in the recent burn areas in central and northern California just north of San Francisco.The heaviest rain will move into the San Francisco Bay area right around dinner time and continue through the evening.The National Weather Service is warning that this rain could fall at a rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour in the north Bay Area and could produce flash flooding.The cold front associated with the storm system will move south into Santa Barbara and Los Angeles metro area Thursday night into Friday, bringing them some rain. ABC News is not expecting flooding in southern California from the system.The storm system is also expected to bring lots of wind to the West, from the San Francisco Bay area to the central Rockies, where winds could gust as high as 70 mph.The heaviest snow of the season so far is expected in the Sierra Nevada mountains, where some areas could see up to 3 feet in the next couple of days.Rainfall totals will range from 1 to 4 inches north of San Francisco and also in the Pacific Northwest.The storm system will move east by the weekend and will bring hazardous travel to the Great Lakes and the Northeast at the start of the holiday travel period. Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • City of Phoenix(PHOENIX) -- Residents in Phoenix observed what appeared to be a bright meteor flying across the night sky on Tuesday.City officials in Phoenix tweeted about the event at around 11:30 p.m., calling it "something brilliant," after a security camera captured the sight.Witnesses reported seeing a bright fireball-like flash in the sky.The American Meteor Society (AMS) said it received more than 200 reports of a fireball meteor seen above New York on Saturday night, AMS said.That fireball was seen primarily from New York and Pennsylvania, but was also seen from Michigan, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, Massachusetts, Delaware, Connecticut, West Virginia, Vermont, Ontario and Québec.It’s no surprise that residents were able to clearly spot the fireball, since a fireball is brighter than the planet Venus, according to the AMS.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC News(NEW YORK) -- An arctic blast of cold air is currently sweeping across the Midwest and Northeast Saturday morning. Bitter wind chills are occurring right now from northern Minnesota to much of the Northeast, including the major cities in the I-95 corridor.It feels like the teens in most of New England right now, and in the single digits in the upper Midwest.Daily record lows are likely from Michigan to Maryland Saturday morning, including Indianapolis, Philadelphia, New York City, Albany, Boston and Hartford. Friday night, the low temperature in Central Park was 26 degrees, beating the record low of 27 for the date -- last set in 1914.Freeze warnings have been issued for parts of the East Coast due to the cold air ending the growing season in most locations. There are also wind advisories and frost advisories for parts of the South on Saturday morning.To give some perspective, New York City's high temperatures less than a week ago on Nov. 6 was 66 degrees. Now, it is feeling about 40 degrees colder.Chicago saw its first measurable snowfall of the season on Friday. Despite not much snow falling, it caused chaos on the roads with spin-outs and accidents being reported.But the arctic blast should ease up quickly.Temperatures will rebound over the next several days in the Northeast, with temperatures nearing 50 degrees by Monday -- seasonably cool, but not nearly as bad. ABC News meteorologists are monitoring a new storm moving into the Northwest that is expected to bring a round of heavy rain to major cities such as Portland and Seattle.Locally, 4 to 7 inches of rain is expected through the next few days, which will increase the risk for localized flooding. Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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